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Immunity. 1994 Apr;1(1):57-63.

Porcine aortic endothelial cells activate human T cells: direct presentation of MHC antigens and costimulation by ligands for human CD2 and CD28.

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Molecular Cardiobiology Program, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


We examined the human xenoresponse to cultured porcine aortic endothelial cells (PAECs). Human CD8+ T cells proliferate to resting MHC class I-positive PAECs. CD4+ T cells proliferate after MHC class II molecules are induced with swine interferon-gamma. These responses are greater than corresponding allogeneic responses to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Limiting dilution analysis shows a 10-fold higher frequency of xenoreactive than alloreactive anti-endothelial lymphocytes. Species-specific monoclonal antibodies suggest that PAECs directly present swine MHC antigens to human T cells and that human CD4 and CD8 molecules participate in this interaction. Furthermore, PAECs bind CTLA-4-Ig and costimulate human T cells by both the CD2 and CD28 pathways. In contrast, HUVECs do not bind CTLA-4-Ig and only use the CD2 pathway.

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